In this article, we will explore another Quranic approach and presentation of the Day of Judgment.
The detailed descriptions of the changes that usher the beginning of the Day of Judgment are meant to remind us of our responsibility. On that day, the whole universe goes through total transformation and metamorphosis.
“One day the earth will be changed to a different earth, and so will be the heaven.” [14:48]
The sun and the moon, the stars and the planets, the heavens and the earth, the mountains and the oceans will not be the same.
“When the sun is folded up; when the stars fall, losing their luster; when the mountains vanish; when the she-camels are left untended; when the wild beasts are herded together; when the oceans boil over with a swell.” [81:1-6]
“When the sky is cleft asunder; when the stars are scattered; when the oceans are suffered to burst forth; and when the graves are turned upside down.” [82:1-4]
“When the earth is shaken to its utmost convulsion and the earth throws up its burdens from within.” [99:1-2]
“It is a day whereon men will be like moths scattered about, and the mountains will be like carded wool.” [101:4-5]
Allah has created the different elements and phenomena of our universe so that it serves human beings and facilitates the execution of their project in this existence. Human beings are supposed to ask the universe the right questions in order to get the right answers. If we sit idle and do not extend our hands to this generous universe we may die of hunger and thirst. The universe is under a direct order from its Creator to respond to human questions, interrogations, and interventions.
“Of the bounties of your Lord We bestow freely on all- these as well as those: The bounties of your Lord are not closed to anyone.” [17:20]
This divine order to the universe to respond to all who ask will be lifted on the Day of Judgment. All the changes that the universe undergoes on that day are indications that human beings have lost the opportunity to get what they want from the universe. What does that mean?
It means that human beings are supposed to carry out their responsibilities before they lose that opportunity once the changes start taking place. They must keep in mind that no one knows- including the Prophet himself- when these changes start. They come suddenly and without warning. “They ask you about the final hour- when will be its appointed time? Say: The knowledge thereof is with my Lord: None but He can reveal as to when it will occur. Heavy were its burden through the heavens and earth. Suddenly it will come to you. They ask you as if you were aware of its time. Say: the knowledge thereof is with Allah, but most men know not.” [7:187]
In other words, this life is the time, and this world is the place for humans to accept and discharge their responsibility. We still have the chance to ask all our questions and get their answers.
As human beings we move in this world through the question and the power of the question. We are always asking questions even when we are silent and not uttering a single word. We ask; therefore, we are responsible. Note the connection between respond and responsibility, and between “sual” “سُؤال”and “masuolieh” “مَسْؤولِيَّة”
“But stop them, for they must be asked.” [37:24]
“He cannot be questioned for his acts, but they will be questioned.” [21:23]
This is a major difference between us and Allah. Unlike us, He does not need the question in order to act. He only orders and his order will be executed in no time. “When He determines a matter, He only says to it: Be and it is.” [2:117]
The question and the factor of time are integral components of our actions. Our actions remain valid as long as we are alive and well and the Day of Judgment has not come yet. Prophet Mohammad (ﷺ) summed up this concept as follows: “If the Day of Judgment is upon to start and one carries in his hand the seedling of a palm tree, and he could plant it before the hereafter begins, he must go ahead and plant it and he will be rewarded for it.”
By Dr. Walid Khayr